Lacrosse catching on in Glenwood |

Lacrosse catching on in Glenwood

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent
Kelley Cox / Post IndependentGlenwood's McKenzie Nelson - Buehler, left, moves in to steal the ball from the Aspen team along with teammate Tyler Rambo during a club team game in Glenwood Springs. For more images visit staff photo galleries at

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Sisters Rachel and Jenna Sobke are confident their sport will catch on at Glenwood Springs High School.

It’s something different, something fun. It’s lacrosse. And from the moment they stepped onto a field with a lacrosse stick in hand, the Sobke sisters were hooked.

“They had a clinic at the beginning of the season and we loved it,” Rachel relayed. “We came back and were so excited. I think it’s a lot different than the other sports offered.”

But girls lacrosse isn’t off to the roaring start the Sobkes and their teammates had hoped to see. Glenwood was set to make the leap from club ball to varsity competition this spring before a low turnout derailed that effort not long into the season.

That hasn’t kept coach Michele Ziccardi’s group off the field, though. They regrouped and continued practicing in preparation for a season at the club level. They opened that season last Wednesday with an 11-4 loss to Aspen and hope to get another game or two in before all is said and done.

The aim is to once again try the varsity jump in 2010. Recruiting efforts are already underway.

“We went to the middle school and recruited a couple weeks ago,” Rachel said. “I guess we’re just going to try to spread the word around the school. This year it wasn’t out there so much around the school because it was a new team.”

It helps that of the program’s 13 current members, none are seniors. And one, thanks to that middle school visit, is an eighth-grader.

Ziccardi has found that getting kids to simply give lacrosse a whirl is half the battle. From there, it’s an easy sell.

“They love it instantly,” she said. “The stick, the fast pace. It’s different. My plan is to try to recruit in the fall. Our school, we have a lot of soccer kids. We’re looking for kids who haven’t played a sport. Not many kids jump ship. They might after they play a game.”

The Sobke sisters can attest to lacrosse’s addictive nature. It’s great, they say, for those without a spring sports home.

“It’s really nice because, in high school, it’s really hard to jump into a new sport, like soccer and all that stuff,” Jenna said. “Those kids have been playing forever. This you can start right away. There are a lot of new players, so you don’t feel embarrassed.”

“And we’re all really nice,” Rachel chimed in, offering up her best sales pitch.

Glenwood Springs Athletic Director Craig Denney thinks that, in the long run, this year’s drop to club ball will help fortify the program’s future. Playing a varsity schedule with a smallish roster might not have been in anyone’s best interest.

“We’ve got to get more girls interested,” Denney said. “That’s the big thing, not having that daily grind, having to go play a more substantial team. It’s tough to do, especially starting out. This is the only way we could go.”

Denney knows girls lacrosse has the potential to catch on. He’s seen it happen with the boys program, which just completed its first varsity season over the weekend.

“It’s a really good sport,” he said. “The girls game is so much different than men’s lacrosse. There’s more ball handling, a lot less contact. … We’ve got to find the right bunch of girls and kick it in. Michele’s got a good core. I think it’ll work. She’s working hard at making it happen.”

Most importantly, the players see no reason why it won’t work. After all they feel they have quite the product to sell.

“I think we have a really good team,” Jenna said. “We all really support each other. We’re not extremely serious, but we do take it seriously. It’s fun. We’re more of a team, and I think people are drawn to that.”

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